Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)PKS285 02: A Young Planetary Nebula
How do planetary nebulae acquire their exquisite geometrical shapes? To investigate this, astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to image several young planetary nebulae. These nebulae are the outer envelopes of stars like our Sun that have recently been cast away to space, leaving behind a core fading to become a white dwarf.
The Galactic Center in Infrared
The center of our Galaxy is a busy place. In visible light, much of the Galactic Center is obscured by opaque dust. In infrared light, however, dust glows more and obscures less, allowing nearly one million stars to be recorded in the above photograph.
A Very Large Array of Radio Telescopes
Pictured above is one of the world's premiere radio astronomical observatories: The Very Large Array (VLA). Each antenna dish is as big as a house (25 meters across) and mounted on railroad tracks. The VLA consists of 27 dishes - together capable of spanning the size of a city (35 kilometers).
Venus on the Horizon
Venus can appear as a brilliant evening star. Besides the sun and moon, Venus is the brightest object visible in Earth's sky. Because it is closer to the sun than Earth, Venus never...
Ice crystal clouds float above the immense Tharsis volcanos of Mars in this recently released picture from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. Olympus Mons at the upper left is 340 miles across and almost 15 miles high - the largest volcano in the solar system.
NGC 4565: Needle Galaxy
Presenting a sleek needle-like profile the magnificent spiral galaxy NGC 4565 is viewed edge-on from planet Earth. Its core of stars bulges from the centre of a thin disk of spiral arms and dust. The core appears to be cut sharply by dust lanes to dramatic effect in this composite image.
Sometimes lightning occurs out near space. One such lightning type is the recently documented red sprite lightning, which has only been photographed and studied on Earth over the last few years. The origins of all types of lightning remains unknown, and scientists are even trying to figure out why red sprite lightning occurs at all.
The Sun Oscillates
Our Sun is in a continual state of oscillation. Large patches of the Sun vibrate in and out, back and forth, even as the Sun rotates. One mode of Solar oscillation is depicted graphically above, with blue indicating outward motion, and red indicating inward motion.
N159 and the Papillon Nebula
In a search for massive stars, the Hubble Space Telescope has peered into yet another spectacular region of star formation. This nebula, known as N159, spans over 150 light-years and is located in the neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, about 170,000 light years distant.
Sometimes the sky itself seems to glow. Usually, this means you are seeing a cloud reflecting sunlight or moonlight. If the glow appears as a faint band of light running across the whole sky, you are probably seeing the combined light from the billions of stars that compose our Milky Way Galaxy.